AI Hallucinations – Newsletter 11/28/2023

AI technology is in a strange place.
I tried using AI for a simple task this week. I wasn’t expecting to deal with hallucinations.
Let me give you some background.
ChatGPT got one of the most successful product launches of all time when it became publicly available a year ago. It crystallized the hopes and fears of millions of people confronting the next technical leap in automation. The major tech companies began pivots to embed AI into their products across the board.
Microsoft moved faster than the rest. Microsoft invested billions of dollars in OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, in exchange for access to the company’s technology. Microsoft then began a bet-the-company all-hands-on-deck effort to integrate AI into old and new products. It has now settled on the name “Copilot” for its AI product line. There are more than 100 products being developed by Microsoft using the Copilot name.
If you have a Windows 11 PC, look at the taskbar. You may see an icon next to the Start button for “Copilot (Preview).” It appears after the most recent Windows 11 update. Try it! Ask a question. It uses ChatGPT to give answers.
Meanwhile, Google is rolling out Bard, its own AI service, and embedding AI into its apps and services.
I’m writing a novel named Veilpiercer. I have a draft in Google Docs and a copy in OneDrive.
I asked Bard to find that file in Google Docs and summarize it. Google Bard gave me this answer.
This is Bard’s summary of Veilpiercer:
The document “Veilpiercer – draft 6.docx” is a draft of the first six chapters of a science fiction novel. The novel follows the story of Cabalynne, a young woman who discovers that the wealthy are using augmented reality (AR) to conceal their wealth and privilege. Cabalynne’s journey takes her from a hidden airport lounge to a secret facility under Denver International Airport, where she uncovers a plot to use AR to control the world. Along the way, she meets a group of allies who help her fight against the powerful forces that are trying to keep her down.
The novel is set in a near-future where AR is ubiquitous and has become deeply integrated into people’s lives. The wealthy use AR to create their own private worlds, while the rest of society is left to see only the illusions that the wealthy project. Cabalynne’s ability to see through these illusions makes her a threat to the wealthy elite, and she must find a way to use her power to expose their corruption and restore justice to the world.
That’s an awesome summary! That’s my book!
I asked Microsoft Copilot to summarize Veilpiercer. It took some fumbling to convince it to find the file but when I gave it the path to the file, as it requested, it appeared to be happy.
Microsoft Copilot gave me this summary of Veilpiercer.
This is what Copilot says it found in the file “Veilpiercer – draft 6.docx”:
The file you shared is a draft of a fantasy novel called “Veilpiercer”. It is about a young man named Kian who discovers he has the rare ability to pierce the veil between the physical and spiritual realms. He joins a secret society of veilpiercers who fight against the forces of darkness that threaten to destroy both worlds. Along the way, he meets allies and enemies, learns more about his heritage and destiny, and falls in love with a mysterious girl named Lila.
The file contains 23 chapters and a prologue, totaling 247 pages. The prologue introduces the concept of the veil and the history of the veilpiercers. The first chapter begins with Kian’s ordinary life in a small town, where he works as a blacksmith’s apprentice and dreams of adventure. The second chapter shows how his life changes when he accidentally pierces the veil and sees a spirit for the first time. The third chapter introduces Lila, who saves him from a demonic attack and reveals herself as a veilpiercer. The rest of the chapters follow Kian’s journey as he joins the veilpiercers, trains his skills, faces various challenges and dangers, and uncovers secrets about his past and future.
That is 100% fabricated, made-up, hallucinated, not true!
There is absolutely no way to tell that Copilot/ChatGPT made up crap because it couldn’t read the file.
It’s my first experience with AI hallucination. It’s unnerving! It will be a long time before I trust Copilot/ChatGPT with factual questions.
Google Bard has never hallucinated when I’ve used it and I haven’t seen anecdotes about Bard fabrications.
I’m left with two questions for Microsoft.
(1) WTF? You’re rolling out a feature to consumers right now and it’s a lying liar that lies. Is this what you want people to see when they try AI for the first time after all the hype?
(2) Microsoft is going to market Copilot to enterprises for $30 per month per person for searches across OneDrive, Sharepoint, and Teams. That’s a startling cash grab, nearly doubling the cost of Microsoft licenses for large companies. Will consumers be able to use Copilot on their individual OneDrive files without extra charge?
Maybe Google Bard will analyze files in Google Drive for free, but Microsoft will restrict its AI to high rolling enterprise customers.
That will be a good reason to switch to Google Drive.
Because asking an AI to summarize a file or answer a question about it is awesome – when the AI isn’t a lying liar.
WE ARE BOB – Dennis E. Taylor

WE ARE LEGION is the first book in a 4 book series (so far!) by Dennis E. Taylor.
Bob Johansson was a successful entrepreneur who had just sold his startup. Newly rich, he signs up for a cryonics company that will freeze his head if he dies, with the hope of being cloned into a new body someday in the future. Of course, Bob dies shortly after. When he wakes up a century later, he finds he’s been digitally scanned and is now an electronic copy of Bob’s brain. Further, he belongs to a future society that plans to build his brain into a self-replicating space probe. As a so-called Von Neumann machine, he’s expected to explore nearby stars, making copies of himself as he goes.
Other societies are doing the same thing, and soon there’s a breeding race as well as an interstellar war between probes.
Bob is an engineer with a minor in physics, and he’s soon improving his probe, inventing new weapons, and creating a virtual reality to live in to keep him sane.
Bob’s clones are each unique, with slightly different personalities. Bob also has a nerdy sense of humor, with a wry look at life overall. He looks at human society with both empathy and sarcasm while he explores nearby stars and looks to make a life as a robot.
incredibly inventive and entertaining. We follow along as a series of potential catastrophes hit humanity and all the Bobs. Captivating and amusing.